The Day in Bohemia
or
Life Among the Artists
was written by John Reed
in 1912 and was
printed for the author
by the
Hillacre Bookhouse in 1913

THE
DAY IN BOHEMIA
OR
LIFE AMONG THE ARTISTS
being a jeu d'esprit containing Much that is Original
and Diverting.  In which the Reader will find the Cognomens
and Qualities of many Persons destined one day to adorn
the Annals of Nations, in Letters, Music, Painting,
the Plastic Arts, and even Business;
TOGETHER WITH
Their Foibles, Weaknesses, and Shortcomings.
And some Account of the Life led by Geniuses in Manhattan's
QUATIER LATIN
BY
JOHN REED

PROPITIATORY

    Who but the veriest Thersites
    Would celebrate two Aphrodites?

LADIES, I humbly lay this lay before you,
Its many faults I hope you'll not be hard on
Merely because I failed to underscore you,
(For which I most sincerely beg your pardon)
You'll note, perhaps, a dearth of women, --
I didn't dare put more of them in...........

The most ru-di-men-tar-y education
Instils the Trojan lady-killer's fate;
So, with considerable trepidation
I would a single goddess celebrate.
And Atalanta's last pursuit
Shows how a nymph will fall for fruit.

If, re MISS TARBELL, you're inclined to carp
At these my sentiments, or their veracity
Then notice that she animates my harp
Only in her professional capacity.
(Though I admit, upon reflection,
A tenderness in that direction)

Yet, tho' by exercising due discretion
I hope a Nine Years Warfare to forestall,
I trust I'm culpable of no suppression; --
Cannot these sentiments embrace you all?
There, LADIES! And I hope you've found
Apples enough to go around.

Not that we should be too earnest,--assumin' us
Free to pursue all the gods that illumine us,--
I don't mean to say
If I had my way
I'd make every man heautontimorumenos!

Yet without seeming too greatly didactical,
Would I could find the means moral and tactical
to put to rout
With one hearty shout,
That bane of America, Art that is Practical!

Well, if these numbers recall a good year to you,
And, as to me, certain things that are dear to you,
Take them, you're welcome,
I'm with you till Hell come,
Friend STEFFENS, consider me quaffing a beer to you!


PREFATORY

If I've apologies to make
I shall not make 'em
Nor, if I'm guilty of mistake,
Need you revenge prepare to take;
I'll simply cry "pax tecum!"
No! If excuses I've to make
I will not make 'em.

And I refuse to slavishly
Placate the Critic.
No flowery hyperbole
Will ever emanate from me,
Or sentiment politic;--
I really must refuse to be
So parasitic.

To all whose name this lay adorn
I doff my bonnet.
But I will treat with proper scorn
All affidavits contra sworn,
You may depend upon it:--
All those whose names this lay adorn
Insisted on it!


THE DAY IN BOHEMIA

    Muse, you have got a job before you,--
Come, buckle to it, I implore you.
I would embalm in deathless rhyme
The great souls of our little time:
Inglorious Miltons by the score,--
Mute Wagners, -- Rembrandts, ten or more,--
And Rodins, one to every floor.
In short, those unknown men of genius
Who dwell in third-floor-rears gangreneous,
Reft of their rightful heritage
By a commercial, soulless age.
Unwept, I might add,-- and unsung,
Insolvent, but entirely young.

    Twixt Broadway and Sixth Avenue,
And West perhaps a block or two,--
From Third Street up, and Ninth Street down,
Between Fifth Avenue and the Town,--
Policeman walk as free as air,
With nothing on their minds but hair,
And life is very, very fair
In Washington Square.

    Bohemia! Where dwell the Sacred Nine,
Who landed, steerage from the White Star Line,--
(For, when the Sacred Springs dried up in Italy
They packed their duds and emigrated prettily.
And all the Ladies, donning virile jeans,
Became the Editors of Magazines.)

    Bohemia! There, hiding neath the Arch,
Acteon on Diana steals a march;
Glimpsing the Huntress at her weekly tub
In the round fountain near the Little Club.
(She with the watchful eye out for the cop
Who haunts the corner where the buses stop.)
Or Dionysus, prone from many drams,
Praises the vine in gulping dithyrambs;
Till some official Pentheus, bully drawn,
Fans the loud-cursing God, and bids him "On!"
While that old Maenad with disordered hair,
Each Sabbath eve careens around the Square.

    Beneath the trees, when summer-nights are hot,
Bray shawn and psaltery, if you will or not;
Out swarm light-hearted Dagos by the millions
Gay Neapolitans and dark Sicilians--
Shouting and laughing, slowly they creep on
Like a drab frieze about an East Side Parthenon!

    Say, unenlightened bards whom I deride,
Defend you Gramercy or Morningside,
As fitter spots for poets to reside?
Nay, you know not where Virtue doth abide!
Do GLACKENS, FRENCH, WILL IRWIN linger there?
Nay, they would scorn your boasted Uptown air!
Are marble bathtubs your excuse ingenious?
In God's  Name, what are bathtubs to a genius!
What restaurant have you that to compare is
With the cool garden back of PAGLIERI'S?
I challenge you to tell me where you've et
Viands more rare than at the LAFAYETTE!
Have you forgot the BENEDICK,-- the JUDSON,
(Purest of hostelries this side of the Hudson)
The Old BREVOORT, for breakfast late on Sunday,
The CRULLERY, where poor men dine on Monday?
You don't remember THOMPSON STREET. For shame!
Nor WAVERLY PLACE, nor, (classic, classic name!)
MACDOUGAL ALLEY, all of stables built,
Blessed home of Art and MRS. VANDERBILT.

    Young Smith he took a studio,--                                        A Ballad of
        With a fol de rol de rero.                                               MacDougal
    He sculped like Michael Angelo,--                                    Alley
        With a fol de rero.
    The neighbors shook their heads and said
        "It's much too much like Rodin's,--
    "And then it can't be Art, because
        It's nothing like St. Gaudens!"
    With a fol de rol de rol de rol--
    O many a clever rally
    Takes place among the geniuses
    In bold MacDougal Alley!

    Smith felt his life in twain was rent,
        With a fol de rol de rero.
    But not his artistic temperament,--
        With a fol de rero.
    And so he gave up Art because
        Success you can't rely on,
    And up and eloped with a painter's wife
        And now's a social lion!-
    With a fol de rol de rol de rol--
    No one knows who's worse Sally,
    The spice of Life's uncertainty
    In gay MacDougal Alley!

    Lives there a man with soul so dead, I ask,
Who in an attic would not rather bask
On the South Side, in lofty-thinking splendor,
Than on the North Side grow obese and tender?
The North Side, to the golden ladle born,
Philistine, suckled at a creed outworn!
Unnumbered Jasons in their motor-cars
Pass fleeceward, mornings, puffing black cigars--
We smoke Fatimas, but we ride the stars!

    True to our Art, still there are variations,
Art cannot flourish on infrequent rations;
We condescend to work in humbler sort,
For Art is long and money very short.
Hence it is not so terribly surprising
That ANDREWS deigns to scribble advertising;
ROGERS, whose talent is of epic cast,
at Sunday-paper stuff is unsurpassed.
LEE teaches in an Art School he abhors,
And LEWIS tries to please the editors;
BOB EDWARDS, when he needs some other togs,
Draws pictures for the clothing catalogues.
And I, myself, when no one wants my rhymes,
Yes, even I relax a bit at times.

    Yet we are free who live in Washington Square,
We dare to think as Uptown wouldn't dare,
Blazing our nights with arguments uproarious;
What care we for a dull old world censorious
When each is sure he'll fashion something glorious?
Blessed art thou, Anarchic Liberty
Who asketh nought but joy of such as we!

    O Muse inflate your pulmonary bellows
And sing ROG, ANDY, OZ, and all the other fellows.
Homage to FORTY-TWO, Parnassus Flats!
Hail to its Cock-roaches, its Dust, its Rats
Lout your Greek bonnet to the third-floor-back,
Hymn the two landladies, red haired and black--
The Amiable MARIE, the bland ADELE;
Our Spanish Jack-of-all-work, MANUEL.

In winter the water is frigid,                                                   Forty-two
In summer the water is hot;                                                    Washington
And we're forming a club for controlling the tub                   Square
For there's only one bath to the lot.
You shave in unlathering Croton,
If there's water at all, which is rare,--
But the life isn't bad for a talented lad
At Forty-Two Washington Square!

The dust it flies in at the window,
The smells they come in at the door,
Our trousers lie meek where we threw 'em last week
Bestrewing the maculate floor.
The gas isn't all that it should be,
It flickers,-- and yet I delcare
There's pleasure or near it for young men of spirit
At Forty-Two Washington Square!

But nobody questions your morals,
And nobody asks for the rent,--
There's no one to pry if we're tight, you and I,
Or demand how our evenings are spent.
The furniture's ancient but plenty,
The linen is spotless and fair,
O life is a joy to a broth of a boy
At Forty-Two Washington Square!

    Third Floor, Hall-room and Black, Elysian bower,
Where the IMMORTAL FOUR spent many a blissful hour!
The high sun-parlor, looking South and East,
Whence we discerned a million cats at least
Communing in the tenement back-yards,
And hove at them innumerable shards.
There spawn the overworked and underpaid
Mute thousands;-- packed in buildings badly made,--
In stinking squalor penned,-- and overflowing
On sagging fire-escapes. Such to-and-froing
From room to room we spied on! Such a shrill
Cursing between brass earinged women, still
Venomous, Italian! Love-making and hate;
Laughter, white rage, a passionate debate;
A druken workman beating up his wife;
Mafia and Camorra,-- yelling strife!
The wail of children,-- dull, monotonous,
Unceasing,-- and a liquid, tremulous
High tenor, singing, somewhere out of sight
"Santa Lucia!" in the troubled night.

    Below's the barren, grassless, earthen ring
Where Madame, with a faith unwavering
Planted a wistful garden every spring,--
Forever hoped-for, --never blossoming.
Above, th' eternal washing droops in the air,
From wall to window hanging, everywhere!
What poet would not yield to their allure
'The short and simple flannels of the poor!'

SHELLEY

The Tenement                                 Like battle-riven pennants fluttering,
Clothes-Line;                                  Float on the serene and variable air
A Series of                                      The many-tinted wash. How fair a thing
Excellent                                        Is linen cleansed! How virginally fair
Parodies                                         Those clinging sunlit draperies! O where
                                                       In the vast awful void where slaves are hurled
                                                       Headlong into caverns of despair,
                                                       Are such undaunted oriflammes unfurled?
                                                       Cringe tyrants! Hellas flaunts her linen to
                                                            the world!


MAURICE MAETERLINCK
A Play in One Act
Persons in the Play:

        A Beggar
        A Blind Beggar
        A Blind Deaf Beggar
        A Blind Deaf Dumb Beggar
        A Blind Deaf Dumb Crippled Beggar

Beggar--The wash is hung on the clothes line. It flutters in
    the wind.  It is colored like the rainbow -- red, pale blue,
    purple. It flutters like--(He hesitates, Pausing)
B.B.--Like wash on a clothes line.
B.--(Simply)--Yes....
B.D.B.--What did you say? I cannot hear. I know you said
    something....(Pause)
B.B.--I sense wash on the clothes line. I sense a red under-
    shirt. Is there a red undershirt?
B.--Yes, a red undershirt with a green patch. And a red--
B.D.B.--What did you say? I know you said something...
B.D.D.B.--(Talking with his fingers)--I am afraid. I am
    afraid...
B.--Hush! Not so loud. Someone might hear.
B.D.B.--I know you said something...
B.B.--Is there a blue petticoat?
B.--Yes, and a pair of blue--
B.D.D.B.--(Talking with his fingers)--I am afraid...
B.D.D.C.B.-...........

Slow Curtain

KEATS

Thalia, breathe in mine enraptured ears
Strains honey-sweet as lovely Dian hears,
Wrapped in perfumed dusk at Ephesus;
Fire me to sing the vision curious
Fronting my casement. Woven phantasies
Yield to caresses of each wanton breeze;
Here, linen mellowed by the laspe of Time,
Woofed in Damascus. From exotic clime
Bandannas pied, and underclothing bright
With Tyrian dye-stuffs; table-cloths once white
Now tinct with lucent syrops of the East,
And souvenirs of many a Dago feast......
Holes, ravels, patches, jauntily displayed,
Fit queenly robes for King Cophetua's beggar maid!

WALT WHITMAN

Wash! Flung to the four winds of Manahatta,
I, Walt Whitman, see this.
The simple, democratic wash of my camerados--
Italianos, Muscovites, and even Americanos--
Undershirts, underdrawers, kimonos, socks, bedclothes,
    pajamas;
Pink, red, green, of various tints, shades and colors;
Some with holes in them, some without holes in them;
Tattered, faded, patched, the Female's equally with
    the Male's I sing!

    APOLLO'S beams our humble house adorn,
And wake th' IMMORTAL FOUR on Tuesday morn;
Coincident, while still our ears we pound,
The alarm-clock gives a horrid sound.
With one bound, orient OSGOOD hits the floor,
(Cerberean timeclocks guard his office door).
REED with a countenance whence joy has fled,
Drags the resisting ROGERS from his bed.
But ANDREWS still the downy pillow presses,
While every feature deep disgust expresses;
And ere he once forsakes his virgin couch,
Accumulates his early morning grouch.
The radiant OSGOOD round the chamber passes,
Scanning himself in all the looking-glasses;
And whispering that beauty is no shame
Loudly begins to carol "La Boheme."
("O chop it!" ANDY cries "In God's sweet Name!")
Thrice turns the tap, thrice finds the water wanting--

    REED excavates a pitcher, nothing daunting
And, naked, rushes down two flights of stairs,
The cynosure of maiden-ladies' glares.
Then comes the water, mixed with earth and rock,
Belching and bubbling like the Jabberwock,
Like coffee to the sight--but not to taste;
Blaspheming, BELVIDERE remounts in haste,--
Again doth ROGERS in his nest recline,
And must be thence propelled upon his spine,
While STEEL-TRAP ANDY still remains supine.

    Now OZZY'S toilet-table stands displayed,
Each silver box in mystic order laid;
In neat pajamas, first the Youth adores
With head uncovered, the cosmetic powers.
EROS' own image in the glass appears,
To that he bends, to that his eyes he rears;
Unnumbered treasures ope at once, and here
The various offerings of the world appear:
This casket India's glowing gems unlocks,
And all Arabia breathes from yonder box.
The tortoise and the steel-works to unite
To make these razors, sabre-edged and bright;
Here, neckties are in brilliant rows arrayed,
Here, powders, patches, pincers and pommade.
Now awful beauty puts on all its arms,--
The fair each moment rises in his charms;
Till, waxing his mustache, at last he turns,
And ardent, for his daily conquests burns!

    Now, when the distant bells are sounding Nine,
Uncoils vast ANDREWS,-- hideous, serpentine;
Yawns, blinking, like a famine-stricken owl,
And folds ill-temper round him like a cowl.
"___ ___ you birds!" he cries. "___ ___ ___ ___!"
"If I've insomnia, I've got you to thank!
A Business Man has need of peace and quiet;
Think I can slumber in this ___ ___ riot?
Three of your collars in my last Week's wash;
This week I find a shirt of REED'S, by Gosh!
I'm ___ if I will shoulder your expense,
You birds each owe me twenty-seven cents!
And somebody's been wearing my neckties;
Why don't you buy things of your own, you guys?"
Robed in a bath-robe like a gaberdine,
Thus ANDY vents his ante-breakfast spleen.
And OSGOOD, chafing 'neath this diatribe,
Foregoes his song, and sharp returns the gibe:
"Keep your unfashionable clothes apart,
Who never knew a decent tailor's art!
Think you I have so little pride,--
To let my wash your laundry rest beside?
By God, in honorable recompense,
I think you owe us twenty-seven cents!
Those neckties, emblems of a bourgeois taste;--
By God, I wouldn't wear 'em round my waist...!"
Etcetera, etcetera, amen!
Until the clocks announce the hour of Ten.
OZZY, who should have been at work by Nine,
Sans breakfast, rushes for the Subway line.
To spend the day forclosing mortgages,--
Poor widows ruining, with orphans on their knees.
While STEEL-TRAP ANDY, with a ghastly groan
Assumes his pants and seeks the telephone;
Reporting that he is on business gone,
And has been working in the Bronx since dawn!
Then, with a half pajama for a shirt,
Splendidly breakfasts at the gay BREVOORT.
REED once more chivies ROGERS from his bed,
And two hours late, goes officeward with dread.

Souls of Scribblers dead and gone,                                        Lines on the
Where in Hades have ye known                                             Dutch Treat
Better with or worser grub,
Than TOM MASSON'S Dutch Treat Club?
Has the bonehead waiter brought
Chicken-pie, when chops you sought?
For a mess of asphodel
Do they charge so high in Hell?
Bloweth not a double rose
Fairer than the IRWIN BROS.
Nor by other name as sweet
Would be HUGHES or JULIAN STREET!

I have heard that on a day
J.M. FLAGG had stayed away;
If he did, I do declare
Dutch Treat would dissolve in air!
What blithe spirit could be found
To better make the world go round?
Without him how could we face
CHARLIE TOWNE or JOSEPH CHASE?
Who could hear without a sob
All the tales of IRVIN COBB?
Souls of scribblers dead and gone
Where in Hades have ye known
Better food or worser grub
Than TOM MASSON'S Dutch Treat Club?

    So I arrive at work at half-past-ten,
Sneak to my desk, and madly seize my pen;

    Then comes MONACHUS, with his winning smile,
Straightway proposing that we rest a while;
Curses his rheumatism like a Hessian,--
Drinks thirteen cups of water in succession,
Then with closed door we go in secret session.
Allume the fragrant weed! Rest feet on desk!
Work is an eccentricity grotesque!
Dream of a perfect magazine to be!
Condemn our O.F. choice of poetry!
Impugn the literary taste of J.S.P.!
Fashion an age when routine-slaves are free!
To point a tale, to drive dull care away,
NOCKO then reads a bit of Rabelais.
So the time passes, sped with royal fun
Till the white tower booms the stroke of One.

    Comes SIDDALL with a cynic lip up-curled,--
SIDDALL, our dormer window on the World!
Kind-eyed behind his glasses, best of  friends,
With the World's foibles at his finger-ends.
Roars out a jest, and praises with a damn,
And pricks our bubbles with an epigram;
SIDDAL, as sensible as he is keen,--
The high-brow low-brow of the Magazine;
"The SPORTING EDITOR has joined the bunch"
Cries he "Here's NORRIS, and it's time for lunch."

    Here comes ALB BOYDEN in the King of shirts
(He is so fashionable that it hurts.
Indeed, in gazing on him, one suspects
That clothes can vanquish physical defects.
So cavalier his air, who would not be him?
Young ladies come from Illinois to see him!)
The rest of us are good at so-and-so,--
But ALB'S the one who makes the wheels to go.
He beats down struggling authors in their price,
Refuses stories with a grace so nice,
That ladies with a Novel (folded flat)
Stay hours in his office for a chat.
Great editor, great hustler through and through,
He has ideas on Literature, too!

    So we go striding up the Avenue....

    At KEEN'S CHOP HOUSE on Thirty-Something Street,
On Tuesday midday we were wont to meet,--
Some for the talk, but most to simply eat,--
The pink of New York's chivalry, DUTCH TREAT!

    FLAGG the unflagging, flaunting like a banner,
Carrying manly beauty with a manner!
A dozen masterpieces in each hand,--
(He turns out ten a day, you understand)
Reputed rich beyond the dreams of Art,
Yet democratic,-- with a heart, a heart.
Each look a diamond, every word a pearl,--
Holds men enchanted like a clever girl.
STREET, with a romance on his eyebrow,-- TOWNE,
Living the Poet's reputation down;
The ever-gay BILL DALY taking his,
Hellenic hair above an Irish phiz;
Two IRWINS (count 'em-- two); in conversation
Almost as clever as their reputation;
CHARLES DANA GIBSON, prisoned in a collar;
And OWEN JOHNSON, (price, each word, one dollar);
WOODS-HUTCHINSON, with stories anatomic;
JONES, BURGESS JOHNSON, MASSON, of the Comic;
Old IRVIN COBB, father of mirth Homeric,
Boomer of tales-- er,-- wholly atmospheric;
As full of genial flavor as a ton
of Rhenish grapes well-ripened in the sun.
Round him reels Laughter, with a face of gold,--
And from him flow all stories told or never told!

    Full many others. What things I have seen
Done at the DUTCH TREAT! Heard words that have been
So nimble, and so full of subtle flame
As if that every one from whence they came
Had meant to put his whole wit in a jest,
And had resolved to filch from LIFE the best
Of even its dull numbers.

    Thus pleasure we
Then back to work again at half-past three.

A Song  to               Collier's Weekly ran a two-page ad:
Relieve the             "We've tried ten editors, but all were bad,
Monotony                For some had principles and some had no,
                                 And some a sense of humor so they had to go."

Then up spake Hapgood from his office-chair:
"Excuse the freedom, Mr. Coll-i-aire,
If you want an editor, you bet your bones
That the man for Collier's is Casey Jones!"

Chorus:

Casey Jones! Editor of Hampton's;
Casey Jones! And the Cosmopolitan;
Casey Jones! Practical Reformer,
Friend of Mr. Pinchot and a baseball fan.

Said Mister Collier with a dismal frown:
(Or so the typist-lady took it down)
"Has this man Casey any ideas new?"
Said Hap: "He thinks just what you tell him to!"

"Ha, Ha!" cried Collier "I'll search no more,
Where can I find this perfect editor?"
"He sits a-straddle of a ten-inch gun,
A-writing yellow headlines for the New York Sun!"

Chorus:

Casey Jones! etc.

    The POET'S HOUR! Round BOYDEN'S desk, at five,
War-grey and stipped for action they arrive.
PHILLIPS, whose judgement we so oft deplore,--
Poet a third, and two-thirds Editor;
Though gentle dreamer, business-man of steel,--
Shooting ideas like sparks from emery wheel,
But totally unable to express them;
We cannot understand his thoughts,-- must guess them,
Oraculates,-- gesticulates,-- in fine
BOYDEN, the high-priest, doth the sense divine!
NOCK, clasping Matthew Arnold to his heart,--
An anarchist in everything but Art!
AGRICOLA MINERVA TARBELL;-- I,
Rejected verse in hand, and fire in mine eye!
"What's up?" says SIDDAL, nervous "Poetry?
My God! This is no place for me!"

    MONACHUS opens: "Verse is our disgrace!
Where in these days is the true singer's place?
Sure ars poetica is on the wane,--
This month's Magazine gives me a pain!"
"It's my best choice," says PHILLIPS "What is yours?"
"See Century, Atlantic, or McClure's!"
"Our verse is rotten!"-- NOCK and I in chorus;
"REED's going to cast another pearl before us!"
"I am!" I amswer with an angry hiss,
Tapping my poem, "What is wrong with this?"
"THE MINSTREL OF ROMANCE--"No harmony--"
Cried NOCK "Too much cacoethes scribendi--"
"Genus irritabile vatum--" "You should read
Your Matthew Arnold--" "Arnold! Huh! Indeed!
A polished, strengthless, sapless, hide-bound bard--"
"What Whitman? Hardware cataloguing by the yard--"
"Foot--rhythm--rhyme--stanza--Sapphics--Lessing--Pope--
Hellenic--Dionysius--couplet--trope"
"Horace--" (Assistance!" cries the SID "Police!")
"Poetic Laws--" (NOCK) "Hold!" says PHILLIPS "Peace!
Down with the stilted numbers of the Schools!
For Rules were made for Art, not Art for Rules!
Poetry is-- at least I hold it so--
Poetry's--" (gesture), (gesture), "--er--, you know--
NOCK'S theory, in short, is full of holes--
Sir Hudson Maxim or the Reverend Bowles!"
MONACHUS bludgeons us with ancient Greek,
French, Latin, Hebrew,-- and I take a sneak,
Most cravenly escaping from the battle
Now raging o'er a phrase of Aristotle!

Madrigal             Since poesy is dead, in dole
                            I'll to some lonely cave;
                            And there I swear no more I'll troll
                            My mercenary stave.
                            Perhaps I'll write a play,
                            Or turn to prose instead;
 
                            Unrhythmic is my soul,
                            Since po-
                            Since po-a, po-a, po-a,
                            Poia po-
                            Since poesy is dead.

                            Calliope is dumb-- to scenes
                            More happy Pan has hied,--
                            So blame it on the magazines
                            And lay your pen aside.
                            Like Ida M. Tarbell
                            A farmer I'll become,
                            And cultivate my greens,
                            Calli-
                            Calli-io, li-io, li-io,
                            Callio li-
                            Calliope is dumb!

    The office wash-room next hour HERO seeks,
His face he rubs, his wavy hair he sleeks;
Reads once again the scented missive o'er:
"To meet some artist friends,-- half after four...
Here at the studio...aesthetic tea...."
Then down into the Subway hurries he;
Tall, handsome, manly, aureoled like a saint,
Greek-profiled-- let's be modest (which he ain't)
And leave his portraiture for other folks who paint.

When the world seems a dismal and desolate spot,--
Sing toory-a-loory-a-loodle!                                                  A Carol
And your pockets are empty, as likely as not,--                    Interpolated
Sing toory-a-loory-a-loodle!                                                  By Request
Don't jump in the river or drink gasoline,
There'll always be plenty of boodle
For the laziest barty with plenty of nerve,
Who makes clever use of his noodle!

Chorus:

To work like a Turk in the sun
Has never impressed me as fun;
And manual labor is ultra-bourgeois,--
I'd rather take mine with a gun,-- and run,--
A gentleman's wits are enough
To gain him a wad of the stuff,
And the word of a grafter who knows what he's after
Is Bluff! Bluff! Bluff!

    At number--, (the street I shall not name)
There is a studio, like a hundred same;
Where great UMBILICUS is wont to sit,
Not painting,-- simply mouthing over it.
When young, he studied on the Continent,--
Eleven years in galleries he spent
Copied the Masters with minutest care,
Learned what they ate, and how they wore their hair;
Lived a new life where'er he made his home,--
Rembrandt in Holland, Cimabue in Rome,
Velasquez in Madrid, and in abhorrence
Held all but Michelangelo in Florence;
In Venice, took a palace full of fleas,
And was for all the world like Veronese;
In London, mentioned for the Royal Academy
For so well imitating Alma-Tadema;
Procured a mistress, sported velvet pants,
And imitated everyone, in France.
And then, committing all these things to heart,
Further pursued the formulas of Art:
Gave up his pension, starved him in an attic,
Drew Early Saints, in attitudes ecstatic,--
Anemic Christs on an anemic cross,
After the wan Theotocopulos.
Became Pre-Raphaelite, neglected bones,
And painted like a jelly-fish Burne-Jones.
Resuming then his money, jot by tittle,
He joined the Realists in the hospital.
So gradually, curious to relate,
Beginning spiritual and attenuate,
He grew more colorful the more he ate.
Van Dyck and Titian, Fortuny and Turner,
Furnish in turn the fuel for his burner;
Still, as his appetite and weight increase,
He jumps to Manet, Whistler and Matisse.
At last he knew so much, he was so deft,
That neither vision, fire, nor self was left.
So at the League he finally had the luck ter
Be nominated Critic and Instructor;
Teaching to all this ripe philosophy:
"Art is not Art that cannot published be."

    Sinks then your hand within his soft, white, hand--
"My dear, dear friend! So few who understand...!"
And you are in. A loft skylit room,
Each window draped, and dusky as a tomb;
On a brass tripod Chinese punk doth smell,
And scented candles stink and fume as well;
Surely no fresh air ever enters here!
This must be the Artistic Atmosphere.
And easel, where a cryptic canvas lurks,
Conceived in pain, and therefore done in jerks;
A purple maiden, hair of livid green,
Drowned in a red sea, title, "Serpentine."
Another. Lady couchant, nude and gory,
Entitled "Nocturne, Troppo con amore;"
Symphony. Sevenths more or less diminished."
And other canvases; but not one finished.
"Nature" he breathes "is never quite complete,
Would you with Nature wish that Art compete?
A thing is never finished with you end it.
Bergson and Heracleitus both defend it;
Merely conceive.-- depict the soul,-- suggest,--
The psychically-perceptive does the rest--"
A thumb-and-finger gesture for to thrill you
With feelings like a Virgin of Murillo.
(How can he paint an Idea, as he said,
Without a single Idea in his head?)

    A clack of squabbling voices smites the ear.
Dim in the murk the other cranks appear;
BUFO, who one short verse per year produces,
Explaining by the following excuses:
"I Youth's sweet-scented manuscript unroll,
But when the heart's systole and diastole
O'erflows the well of poetry in my soul."
(BUFO'S an Art-for-Art's-sake out-and-outer,--
We're fortunate his well is not a spouter)
SHAEMAS, who out-revives the Celt-Revival,--
Considers Synge an upstart and a rival;
TRIMALCHIO, long-haired, who thinks it nice is
That artists should be steeped in all the vices;
And measures such a man, not by his wits,
But by th' atrocities that he commits;
Hates decency as Ghibelline a Guelph,--
Not brave enough to either be, himself;
STREPHON, who sings of Youth, and Wind, and Flowers,
And Open Roads, and Vagabonds, for hours;
Cries "Back to Nature," goes without a hat,
And-- never stirs from his steam-heated flat!
Anear him CHLOE, in a pastoral dress,--
Which cost at least three hundred flat, I guess,--
Revolves her onyx eyes with some success;
She wields no brush, manipulates no lyre,
Her job in life is simply to Inspire.
LILITH, one luring line from lips to limb,
Picks out a man, and plays live-songs to him;
Discussing, meanwhile, in a lower tone,
Free Love, and other fancies of her own;
True, never public hearing has had she,--
(A managerial conspiracy)
They call her the American Chaminade;
But I, who oft have been her Ichabod,
Think it's a case of too much 'spare the rod.'
SPORUS the Anarchist, who as he sips
Delivers us a new Apocalypse;
Although his mouth's for war, his heart's for peace,
He wouldn't feel quite safe without Police.
And here's the RICH MAN, fidgetting beside us;
Who tries to be Maecenas,-- and is Midas;
And from his talk, it presently appears
That every Midas has an ass's ears!
FLACCUS, whose Scarlet Lettered proboscis
Proclaims to all the word that Gin his boss is,--
(His frescoes are a product of the Gin)
BALBUS, a socialist from nose to chin;
POPPEA, who paints miniatures on claim-shells,
And should be ostracised by her own damn shells;
BUBO, who sleeps, 'tis rumored, in his shirt,
And thinks that painters should exist in dirt;
And all about, a dozen curious females,
Who would be, and again would never be males;
The mild, the violent, the stout, the thin,--
One cup of Oolong makes the whole crowd kin.

"Tea"                   The English drink tea in the morning
A Little                 From Trafalgar Square to Bohee,--
Thing of               And that ought to be enough warning
My Own              To anyone tippling tea
                             Ah me
                            To anyone tippling tea.
                            Far be it from me to be scorning
                            The Britisher's bold chivalree,--
                            But the clothing his person adorning,
                            Ah, that's the result of tea.

                            I wouldn't for anything tarnish
                            The fame of the heathen Chinee,--
                            But note his exterior varnish
                            Produced by the action of tea
                            Ah me
                            Produced by the action of tea.
                            And if you think this a bit yarnish,
                            Consult the Encyclopedee;
                            It says "If complexion you'd garnish
                            Refrain from indulging in tea!"

    Anon they worship at the Master's shrine
Anon they squabble o'er some puling poet's line;
Wild theories, some brighter thinker's leaving,
They misapply, believing they're believing;
With arguments fantastic and absurd,
Each one attempts to sandwich in a word:
TRIMALCHIO proclaims himself Futurist
Because his works are always judged the poorest;
CHLOE for Bahaism has a passion,
Because,-- O well, because it is the fashion;
SHAEMAS opines that straightway bound for Hell is
The man who has not studied Hav'lock Ellis;
While LILITH wants ejected from the house
The vulgar fool who does not care for Strauss;
BUBO's the Literary of the crew
Because he reads the Sunday Book Review;
Of all these cranks whom we have been reviewing
Not one has done a single thing worth doing!

Cranks, cranks, cranks, cranks,--                                        Simply to
Blanks, blanks, blanks, blanks,--                                          Lighten
Talk about talking and think about thinking,                      The Gloom
And swallow each other without even blinking;
A little of Bernardshaw,-- not very much of him,--
Ibsen, a modicum,-- Nietzsche, a touch of him,--
A pinch of Karl Marx,-- and a bit of Strindberg,--
And much from the novels got out by McClurg;--
Each woman a parasite,-- each man a tank,--
And that is the neo-Bohemian crank.

Dubs, dubs, dubs, dubs,--
Cubs, cubs, cubs, cubs,--
Fixing the world with a cheerful finality,--
Preaching a maudlin Bob Chambers morality;
Sore on Society,-- won't do a thing to it,--
In spite of affecting abhorrence of pelf,
You'll notice that each one is out for himself;
All members of petty aesthetical clubs,--
And these are the neo-Bohemian dubs.

    UMBILICUS now rises and remarks
"HAFIZ, the Prince of Syrio-Persian larks,
Has designed to lyricise within our midst;
Did I proclaim aright?" HAFIZ: "Thou didst"--;
"HAFIZ, defier of aesthetic Laws"--
"Bravissimo! Bis! Bis!-- in short, applause.
--A tour de force original, unique,--
The world's not heard before,-- c'est magnifique!
'Tis called, my friends, 'A Sonnet in A Flat'!"
Applause! I stealthily attach my hat.
HAFIZ, a person of the tint of guano,
Makes his way, langorous, to the piano;
With a preliminary coquetry,
His larynx clears, and thumps the A-Flat key.
"O moon of love--" thump! thump! thump! thump!
thump! thump!
"O moon of love--" HAFIZ is up a stump;
"O moon of love--" but ere he can repeat it,
I rise up and incontinently beat it!

    O to be shut in that seraglio
When through the town the West wind bloweth so!
O to talk pictures in a stinking lair,
When the great City's an intaglio rare
In the clean golden wash of evening air!
O to discuss some minor poet's bleat!
When all about tremendous pulses beat!
O, in a studio to fume and gas,
When in the street such faces pass and pass!

A Hymn                O let some young Timotheus sweep his lyre
    To                     Hymning New York. Lo! Every tower and spire
Manahatta          Puts on immortal fire!
                            This City, which ye scorn
                            For her rude sprawling limbs, her strength unshorn,--
                            Hands blunt from grasping, Titan-like, at Heav'n,--
                            Is a world-wonder, vaulting all the Seven!
                            Europe? Here's all of Europe in one place;
                            Beauty unconscious; yes, and even grace.
                            Rome? Here all that Rome was, and is not,--
                            Here Babylon,-- and Babylon's forgot.
                            Golden Byzantium, drunk with pride and sin,
                            Carthage, that flickered out where we begin....
                            London? A swill of mud in Shakespeare's time;
                            Ten Troys lie tombed in centuries of grime!
                            Who'd not have lived in Athens at her prime,
                            Or helped to raise the mighty walls of Rome?
                            SEE, BLIND MEN! WALLS RISE ALL ABOUT YOU HERE AT HOME!
                            Who would not hear once more
                            That oceanic roar,
                            "Ave! Ave Imperator!"
                            HARK! THERE'S AN ARMY ROARING IN THE STREETS!
                            This spawning filth, these monuments uncouth
                            Are but her wild, ungovernable youth.
                            But the skyscrapers, dwarfing earthly things,--
                            Ah, that is how she sings!
                            Wake to the vision shining in the sun!
                            Earth's ancient, conquering racers rolled in one,
                            A World beginning,-- AND YET NOTHING DONE!

    Digressions do no harm, but then this is
A rather serious parenthesis.

    So, to resume our muttons, as they say,
Homeward the POET takes his jocund way.
Escaping, with his customary luck,
Full many an over eager motor-truck.
Harmonious, both his outer man and inner
Proclaim the glad proximity of dinner.
Arrives at FORTY-TWO, runs through the mail
(Ten "statements due," but not a sign of kale)

    ROG, wreathed in pipe smoke, sits upon his seat
Perusing Rum-ti-Foo's great Bishop, Pete,
(Hasn't had time all day, he says, to eat)
ANDREWS, upon whose countenance is blent
Virtue and pride, naive and innocent,
Surveys his conscience pure, and is content
(Two hours upon a certain Lounge he spent).
While OSGOOD smiles and sings with joy intense,
Without the least conformity to sense.
"Shall we shog off? No money? There's the rub--"
"I vote" cried ANDY "for the HARVARD CLUB
One doesn't have to pay there,-- one can sign--"
"I'm broke" says REED "The CRULLERY for mine"
Then OSGOOD searches vainly for his wallet,--
PAGLIERI'S seem to tickle OZZY'S palate;
"I've just two bones;" adds ROGERS "without animus
I move we make the Dago-joint unanimous!
The Ayes appear to have it--" "Look who's here--
Colonel BOB HALLOWELL-- cheer, soldiers, cheer!
Boom! Boom! The sunset gun! Our country's banner!
That martial blush! That military manner!"
The furious HALLOWELL emits a roar,
And bears his cruel tormentor to the floor,--
Comes the loud crash of tables toppling o'er.
The man beneath, the family in the attic,
Pound on the steam-pipe a protest emphatic.
This evening there'll be trouble. Never mind
Tonight at any rate we will have dined.

    Just as our forces on the street deploy,
Appear the genial WOLF and SAM McCOY!
Balloon-like, ROGERS bounces on ahead
Then SLOTHFUL SAMUEL, less alive than dead,
OZZY and HERR, with one unmeaning grin,
Talk gibberish you'll find no meaning in.
REED, following, elated and erect,
BOB HALLOWELL,-- gloves, hat and all correct.
Old ANDREWS singing harshly,-- music wrong,--
Last, like a wounded snake, drags his slow length along.
PAGLIERI'S self directs us, with a leer
To the round table waiting at the rear.

    Bring on your wine, bring on your raviola,
Here's EDWARDS and his Kitten,-- let us troll a
Catch that will ring from Cos Cob to Ecola!

Gaston the Gascon, R.I.P.                                                    The Rime of
An eating house did keep.                                                   the Three
His Gallic food was very good,--                                          Restaurants
His prices were not steep.

He six delicious courses gave
And wine, for fifty cents.
And FOUR would come to feed their tum,
But seldom other gents.

They wolfed his bread, they drank his wine,
They called for helpings two.
And nought indeed was left to feed
The cat, when they were through.

They ate the chairs, they ate the plates,
They ate the cat, they say.
Involuntary bankruptcy
Took Haston Simonet

    HOORAY--RAY--RAY
    FOR GASTON SIMONET!

Italian Paul then took the place,
His face with hope was bright.
When through the door the fateful FOUR
Did loom upon his sight.

He louts him low, he rubs his hands
He leads them to a seat.
"Good cutomers!" poor Paul avers
Till they begin to eat.

They ate the tables, ate the spoons,
And even ate the trays.
Italian Paul went to the wall
In less than thirty days.

    THEN--STAND--UP--ALL
    A HEALTH TO DAGO PAUL!

Upon Sixth Avenue there is
A German Delicatessen.
And there once more the hungry FOUR
Each day are wont to fressen.

O feeble is that hapless joint
And empty is its till;
But I confess uneasiness
That it is going still.

    OH--WHAT--A BLESSIN'
    A GERMAN DELICATESSEN!

    Home through the dingy, white-lit, clangorous street,
Arms linked, the red wine dancing in our feet;
Past the Jew shoemen stewing in their caverns,
Past the fast-swinging doors of taverns;
Through shabby, work-free crowds adventuring,
Treading like rich men, heads up, arms a-swing,--
Dark sweat-shop girls, harsh-laughing as they go,--
Lovers, bound for the moving picture show,--
Above, like hammers on the lid of hell,
The nervous, grating thunder of the El.

    Home, with our coats off and our weeds alight,
All windows open to the roaring night;
ANDY and OZZY at their checker game
Squabbling,-- at poker SAM and HERR the same;
ROG making observations quite satyric,--
Oblivious REED, at work upon a lyric,--
BOB HALLOWELL, growing dreamier and dreamier
To find himself in actual BOHEMIA!

    "Is Mr. Reed in?" stand, boys! Mecum dominus!
It is the landlady,-- his voice is ominous.
She enters; sits; swift falls the bouyant talk;
REED'S limbs atremble,-- ANDREWS' face of chalk;
OSGOOD alone his customary verve
Exhibits, and his customary nerve.
"Good evening, Madame!" cries "Well, well, well, well!
Indeed a pleasure,-- more than I can tell--"
With a silk handkerchief dusts off his chair,
His eyes implore her to be seated there!
"I've come--" she says. "Our good luck that is so"
And OZZY'S bow is worthy of the Beau.
"My lodgers have complained-- this afternoon--"
"Ah!" observes OZ "the weather's nice for June,--
Why then complain?" The dame begins again:
"It is not of the weather they complain--"
Our champion agrees "Nor yet do we,--
We're satisfied to let the weather be.
And you, dear Madame? You are feeling tony?
To that your blooming looks bear testimony!"
She tries once more: "Well, in the room below
A newly married couple live, you know--"
"Twa-te-twa-twa" sings OZZY "Who'd have thought it--"
"But then, that oughtn't to be talked of, ought it--"
"And they complain--" "O, go no further, please,--
How sad are these unhappy marriages--"
"But--" "You've been married? Happily I trust?
"Ah, well! Earth unto earth, and dust to dust--"
"Then there's the man upstairs--" "What, married too?
The sly dog! This will never, never do!
We won't get married after this, eh, boys?--"
Cries Madame "They complain of too much noise!"
"Ah" says defeated OZZY, quite resigned,
"Have you a certain culprit in your mind?"

    She sniffs, and straightway dons a mien of gloom,
While breathlessly we listen to our doom.
"I'm not one who would muzzle without truth
The harmless effervescences of Youth--
I am not one to lightly cry 'Heraus!'
I want you all contented in my house;
Bit I declare it seems a bit too bad
For those as hadn't PAID to bother those as had!"
Silence; then cometh to our burning ears
Soft sound of sobs, and tink of trickling tears.
She weeps! Milady weeps! Blush, thoughtless boys!
Why in Beelzebub made you that noise?

    She's off again "I do not like to say it
But there's one rule here, and all must obey it;
Those who have not PAID RENT for half a year
Must keep the peace-- they cannot rough-house here;
My landlord duns-- no cash,-- you make a racket,--
My lodgers leave,-- I starve" --(ROGERS: "Hic jacet")
Grief incoherent: with a furtive glance
REED searches through the pockets of his pants;
Nothing! He nudges HALLOWELL, who then
Slips him a surreptitious bill of ten.
"Madame" he cries "Accept this little token
And credit my arrears; in peace unbroken
From this time on I promise you shall dwell
The folks below, and he above, as well!"
Madame arises, smiles, and dries her tears,--
The episode is finished off with cheers.

Artist lodger, be a gent,                                                        A Byronic
Pay, O pay to me my rent!                                                    Lament
Or, and I will think me blest,
Pay but half and keep the rest!
List, O listen to my prayers
Les affaires sont les affaires!

By my spread of rarest lawn
That you wipe your brushes on;
By the sheets the laundry says
That you use for canvases;
By my stricken hair-cloth chairs
Les affaires sont les affaires!

By the stories that you tell
Of the pictures you will sell;
By my furniture you pawn
And the proceeds rollick on
Pay, or mount no more these stairs
Les affaires sont les affaires!

    A knock. 'Tis HIRSCH! His devilish smile says, "Never
Was anyone so altogether clever!"
Observe his air of "I-am-one-of-you"
Adopted for this babu milieu;
That laugh ironic, that superb sang-froid
Is like a character from Bernard Shaw;
His critic-analytic turn of mind
Dissects his friends, around, before, behind,--
Then, plumbs itself his intellect profound,
Till the disjecta membra strew the ground;
Indeed, so has he analyzed his soul,
That HIRSCH doth never seem entirely whole!
For all of that, a Voice Among the Dumb,
Who will speak of great things in the days to come!

    And with him LIPPMANN,-- calm, inscrutable,
Thinking and writing clearly, soundly, well;
All snarls of falseness swiftly piercing through,
His keen mind leaps like lightning to the True;
His face is almost placid,-- but his eye,--
There is a vision born of prophecy!
He sits in silence, as one who has said:
"I waste not living words among the dead!"
Our all-unchallenged Chief! But were there one
Who builds a world, and leaves out all the fun,--
Who dreams a pageant, gorgeous, infinite,
And then leaves all the color out of it,--
Who wants to make the human race, and me,
March to a geometric Q.E.D.--
Who but must laugh, if such a man there be?
Who would not weep, if WALTER L. were he?

    A timid footstep,-- enter then the eager
KEATS--SHELLEY--SWINBURNE--MEDIAEVAL--
SEEGER;
Poe's raven bang above Byronic brow,
And Dante's beak,-- you have his picture now;
In fact he is, though feigning not to know it,
The popular conception of a Poet.
Dreaming, his eyes are steadily alight
With splendors of a world beyond our sight;
He nothing knows of this material sphere,--
Unwilling seems, at times, to linger here;
Beauty is all his breath, his blood, he says,--
Beauty his shrine, and Love its priestesses.
Wildly he talks, with solemn, bell-like voice,
In words that might have been old Malory's choice,--
Proclaiming, in the manner of ascetics,
"For ethics we must substitute aesthetics!"

    Who's this, that like the West Wind, bouyant, free,
Blows in upon us? Sculptor ARTHUR LEE!
Soi-disant superman, and self-styled Lord
Of Sculptors, preaching the inspired Word
Of Modern Art. You cannot hear him speak,--
Epic and dialectic, like a Greek,--
With believing in his haughty claim
That the round earth will echo to his name.

    The unkempt HARRY KEMP now thumps our door;
He who has girdled all the world and more.
Free as a bird, no trammels him can bind,
He rides a box-car as a hawk the wind;
A rough thin face, a rugged flow of words,--
A Man, who with ideals himself begirds;
Fresh from a fiery ordeal that has paved
The Pit anew-- from terrors trebly braved
He rises, burning to avenge the wrong
By flooding all the stupid earth with song.
Here's to you HARRY, in whatever spot!
True Poet, whether writing it or not.

Much have I traveled in the realms of gold                          On First
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;                        Looking into
Round Western towns and counties have I been                   Roget's
Where bosses fealty to Roosevelt hold.                                 Thesaurus
Oft of one wide expanse I had been told,
That loud Walt Whitman ruled has his demesne:
Yet never did I breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Roget speak profuse and bold:

Then felt I like some lesser Hagedorn
When a new rhyme-tag swims into his ken;--
Or like stout Wheelock on the gladsome morn
When a new book is published,-- and his pen
Scribbles another volume yet unborn--
Silent, upon a stool, in Hoboken!

    Loud roars the conversation, as Olympus
Roars when the dieties convene to gimp us;
KEMP thunders Anarchism, and is wrecked
On a sharp flint from LIPPMANN's intellect,--
Who Socialism in his turn expounds,
Which LEE declares is founded on false grounds;
ROGERS and HIRSCH with fury fight away
Upon what constitutes a perfect play;
SEEGER and KEMP twang each his lyric lute,
And Poetry disdainfully dispute;
ANDREWS, appealed to, climbs upon the fence,
And all combine, in scorn, to flog him thence.
Poor HALLOWELL'S dilemma is immense;--
Too bold for that, too cautious to be bold,
He hesitates until the subject's cold;
While OSGOOD, WOLF, McCOY do stand aloof,--
Contemptuously watch us raise the roof.

    Now with an easy caper of the mind
We rectify the Errors of Mankind;
Now with the sharpness of a keen-edged jest,
Plunge a hot thunder-bolt in Mammon's breast;
Impatient Youth, in fine creative rage,
With both hands wrests the quenchless torch from Age;
Not as the Dilletanti, who explain
Why they have failed,-- excuse, lament, complain,
Condemn real artists to exalt themselves,
And credit their misfortunes to the elves;--
But to Gods of Strength make offertory,
And pit our young wits in the race for glory!

    Perhaps we flay our artists' lack of power,
Or damn with mirth the poets of the hour;
One in particular I call to mind
Who says he's left America behind:--

O let us humb-ly bow the neck                                             A Gilbertian
To George Syl-ves-ter Vi-er-eck                                          Ode
Who trolled us a merry little Continental stave
Concerning the Belly and the Phallus and the Grave--

It would have almost raised the hair
Of Oscar Wilde or Bau-de-laire
To hear Mr. Vi-er-eck so frank-ly rave
Concerning the Belly and the Phallus and the Grave--

And in the last an-al-y-sis
He says it nar-rows down to this:
A fig for the favors that the high gods gave!
Excepting the Belly and the Phallus and the Grave--

If you have drunk Life to the less
You may console yourself with these;
For me, there are some things that I do not crave
Among them the Belly and the Phallus and the Grave--
What ho! for the Belly and the Phallus and the Grave
The Belly and the Phallus
And the ballad very gallus
    And the Grave!

    It borders midnight! Rattle all the doors
With the vehemence of the lodgers' snores.
Now one by one the geniuses do yawn,--
Rise up,-- deliver parting shots,-- are gone.
SEEGER remains. "The LAFAYETTE?" he cries;
"Aye!" (Fevered are our brains, and wise our eyes.)
ANDY alone declines to be seduced
But virtuously prepares him for the roost;
"You squander Youth" says he "In dissipation!"
"For the Wise Man, all things in moderation;
"Efficiency-- the Business Man-- brain force"--
"Short sport!" we sneer "Conservative,-- and worse!"
Singing, that Four wend to the LAFAYETTE
Quite like a scene from Murger,-- sans grisette.

A Triolet                                                                            "You are very well met
Composed                                                                          Reed  and Osgood and Rogers;
On the Spot                                                                        At the old Lafayette
By Seeger                                                                          You are very well met--
                                                                                            Come, set 'em up! Set
                                                                                            'Em up, jolly codgers!
                                                                                            You are very well met
                                                                                            Reed  and Osgood and Rogers!"

    Round a bare table in the bright cafe
We loll, while wild Italian minstrels play
"You Candy Kid." The flashing dmei-monde
Carouses,-- laughs,-- grows fonder and more fond;
Frenchmen pursue th'eternal game of chess,--
Playwrights compose, and bards their woes confess
With a stub pencil on the table-top
(Chef d'oeuvres perish with to-morrow's mop)
In a warm glow of Cointreau Triple Sec
REED has a million visitors at his beck,
OZZY draws portraits on his unpaid check,
SEEGER draws rhymes from fountains never spent,
While ROGERS purrs, and grins and is content.

    REED gapes, OZ gapes, ROG gapes, and SEEGER gapes,
Dark is the Square,-- a few dull huddled shapes
Lie on the grass; a homeless, workless crew.
Chill is the air,-- a distant clock strikes two;--
Sharp sounds the late home-comer's step, and deep
Breathes the wide-circled city in its sleep.
There is a slip of moon-- Good Nights are said,
And arm-in-arm we stumble home to bed.

    But at our door we hesitate, and grin,--
Someone talks on and on and on, within;
Now ANDREWS' voice, uplifted, tries in vain
To dam the flood,-- as he for bed were fain.
'Tis REEVES the Philosoph, who can outpreach a
Young Baptist,-- REEVES, the true Blong Beat of Nietzche!
Our new Freethinker,-- to whom all Emotion,
Enthusiasm, Faith, Love, Rage, Devotion,
Etcetera, is positively Boeotian!
Born to propound, unfold a tale, debate,
And charming, if he would not call so late.

    Poor ANDY sits in a hypnotic trance
Thralled by a psycho-medical romance
Dealing with Brokers, Cancers, Sexual Force--
In which REEVES is the Superman, of course.
We sneer, and sit, and fall beneath the spell,--
And Time stands still,-- and we are the thralled as well
The charm is smashed; we hint "The hour is late"--
But REEVES continues boldly to narrate.
ROG suddenly remembers that is due
At nine A.M. an article or two.
And for his typewriter he makes a break;
For there's a spicy interview to fake,--
Dramatic dope, some fourteen thousand words,--
And verse, to fill a column and two thirds.
Slyly and quickly we become undressed--
Slyly and silently we seek the nest.
I doze; but hear, ere yet oblivion
Enfolds,-- REEVES lecturing the rising sun,
And ROGERS, plangeant on his Remington.


VALEDICTORY
TO ROGERS
UPON HIS DEPARTURE FOR FURRIN PARTS

                                    Ere once again you raise across the foam
                                    Bartholdi's lady, garbed in raiment scanty--
                                    Ponderously pushing your protuberance home
                                        Still jaunty.

                                        Horizons far you'll lamp, and climates various.
                                    Strange fruits devour, the pawpaw and persimmon.
                                    You will experience smokes and drinks nefarious,
                                        And women!

                                        Dutch imprecations, blasphemies, French curses
                                    Will pass those lips, whose speech was chaste and
                                        boreal,
                                    Outlandish phrases,-- foreign,-- and what worse is
                                        Equatorial.

                                        But when, ah when, in straits pecuniary,
                                    Unsympathetic Zulus you dismember,
                                    Or when you hunt the timid Cassowary,
                                        Remember--

                                        Our hearts,-- my own, and Ozzy's, Andy's, Gerry's,
                                    The bitter, bitter pangs of absence learning,
                                    Follow wherever lead your wild vagaries,--
                                        Yearning......
 


Return to BohemianLit.com Home Page